For The Love of Yucky Jobs

“Love” may be an exaggerated term for the relationship I’ve developed with the more disgusting chores of running our little farm. I find I have recently been waxing philosophical more than usual, perhaps because as the world spins out of control around me I try to find the stable center. But today, as I fearlessly dove into some of these jobs, I became aware of how good it makes me feel to take care of the needs of my animals and property even when it smells bad, looks disgusting, or takes surprising muscle power.

When I was a teenager, I deeply resented being asked to do the tasks that seemed “gross!” My mother probably took care of most of these because it was just easier than fighting with her kids who were horrified to have to do the unpleasant stuff. I think my attitude first began to shift as I faced motherhood. Caring for a child, or even a pet, puts the responsibility squarely on your own shoulders for the wellbeing of someone you love. It was a shock and an awesome burden to realize nobody but you was going to take care of the things that had to be done and that if you failed in your duty someone else would suffer. I’m talking dirty diapers, caring for the ill, plugged plumbing, pest infestations, and the whole gamut of nasty, smelly messes that make up a life.

Somehow, magically, perhaps through maturity, I have come to love the feeling of satisfaction that I gave it my all to care for someone or something. I think the degree of unpleasantness correlates to how good I feel about it when I am done.

So, I don’t know — are you waiting to hear what awful things I did? Really, nothing special. I brought the goat into the barn to trim his hooves and give him his worming and lice medications. I noticed the brown mess on his undercarriage that had crusted on his thick curly hair where he pees. I actually got myself a bucket of soapy water and a brush and scrubbed him until it had softened up enough to trim it away, snip snip, so that he can go a few months without that overwhelming stink following wherever he goes. I like to think he is grateful, but yes or no, I have that satisfied motherly feeling.

Then I looked around for other tasks while I had the attitude. The compost heaps were filled to overflowing and slanted like mountains so that any new additions were rolling right off the top. I got out a pitchfork and turned the pile, flattening it out for the next pile of coffee grounds. Underneath were moldy rotting vegetables, starved for oxygen. that I like to think are joyous to have a refreshed environment to decay a bit faster. I scooped several shovels of charcoal from the fire ring over the top for some additional carbon and perhaps some absorption of the smells.

I swam this morning and noticed that the pumping tool that I use to suck up bits of dirt from the floor of the pool had a store of floating goo collected over months of use. I took it apart, brushed it out, and dropped the worst part into a jar of bleach while I swam, to burn clean the discolored rubber. Now it is sparkly white again and ready to begin accumulating new trash.

Ahhh. Several jobs well done and all is right with the world for a while.

About bluestempond

Hobby farmer living at Bluestem Pond in Michigan.
This entry was posted in Farm, Farm Animals, Gardening and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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